Measuring Brand Effectiveness: Should We Kill the Digital GRP?

Morpheus Media, the digital media and strategy agency, is a monthly contributor to The Makegood. This column was composed by Hope Distant, Group Associate Director, Client and Media Strategy.

Traditional advertising-driven brands are very comfortable with the current metric in place as it has been the same since the 1950’s. The Gross Rating Point (GRP) is the standard for measuring branding effectiveness in traditional marketing; it’s the mechanism for measuring the estimated reach x frequency. Should it be used for digital media?

There are both pros and cons when using the GRP within online media. Let’s explore them and I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Advertisers use GRPs to measure traditional media, so why should digital media advertising be any different? Having an “apples-to-apples” metric allows advertisers to evaluate all media uniformly and in a more integrated fashion as part of a media mix. Advertisers want a metric they can understand and model against. There is an industry wide push to incorporate the GRP model into digital, which is evidence of marketers’ growing frustration with aligning digital branding performance with traditional ad campaigns and the yearning to simplify this process through the use of more familiar branding metrics.


The argument against the GRPs is that it does not account for the unique attributes of digital media, such as engagement and relevant targeting. The GRP is a broad metric however; there are existing online media measurement capabilities that are more powerful to better align with traditional metrics. The question remains to be asked; how much value is the GRP really adding?

The GRP gives marketers a metric that they can use to evaluate across all channels; nevertheless the argument amongst the majority of digital professionals is that the GRP does not have any real value of measurement, only a count of potential exposure. Whether you are for it or against it, the need for better measurement metric across media channels is pivotal.

Traditional and online advertising have different strengths and there isn’t any one metric that can capture true branding effectiveness. The GRP is thought to be the lowest common denominator that spans across all media, but it provides no analysis or evaluation. We need to incorporate both traditional brand measurement metrics like the GRP, while incorporating digital-specific engagement metrics. Let’s not try and make the GRP do more than what it was meant to do.

  • Jeff Jacknis

    Kill it…the GRP is an estimate that was established specifically for traditional, a long time ago. The digital space and its associated measurements and technology provide us with effective, innovative and accurate means to determine brand effectiveness. The focus should actually be on improving the measurement of brand effectiveness in traditional, not introducing a limited inappropriate measurement metric to digital. It does not have to be “one size fits all”.